My Weight Loss Journey

I was put on my first diet at the tender age of seven. I remember the fear and shame every week, when my mother dragged me to P.E.T.S. (Proper Eating Training Systems) in South Africa, and I had to climb up on the scale before total strangers to determine if I had been a good or bad girl.

Thus began the core belief of my worthiness being dictated by a piece of metal.

From that day on I was always supposed to be on a diet, so any deviance from “diet food” had to be eaten in secret.
Food became at once my best friend and my worst enemy.

My parents got divorced when I was 5; when Mom went out, I would hide the cottage cheese under the upside-down Gem squash in the trash, and make myself toast loaded with peanut butter, and steal cookies and nuts from the freezer—praying she wouldn’t notice. Her sweet friend, Esmin, who owned  The Kandy Kabin in Johannesburg, once stored huge bags of almonds in our freezer; boy did she lose money on that! (Sorry Es. Thanks for not getting me in trouble.) On weekends, I was enamored with Dad’s overflowing candy cupboard and ever-present baked goods.

To avoid the disapproving looks of my parents and three older siblings (kind of like having five disapproving parents)—instead of eating one or two fresh-baked cookies, I would steal an entire package from the cupboard, and hide whatever I was too stuffed to finish under my bed.

I will never forget the day that my brother, Gary, told me that I was obese.

Left to Right: Gary, Sharon, Neville, Boetie, Orna.

Neville’s Graduation

Left to Right: Gary, Sharon, Neville, Boetie, Orna.

I was always either on a diet, or breaking my diet—which meant eating everything in sight until the diet started again—usually on a Monday, January, end of the trip, etc.

I was horrified to see the shocking, all-time high of 91 kilos (200 pounds) that this binge-diet cycle inevitably caused.

Orna at Heaviest Weight

Orna at 17 years old; at heaviest weight of 200 pounds.

This drove me to the stick-thin ‘dietician’ Colleen Sergay, in my college years, who told me what and how much to eat and I was guaranteed to get thin.

I would head straight to the supermarket to buy supplies for the post-weigh-in-celebration. I now marvel at the amount I was able to consume in one sitting; chips, chocolate bars, pastries, you name it. I would then eat myself into oblivion until I felt so sick I wished I could throw up—like some of my contemporaries were doing at the time; but the thought of that was always way too disgusting, so I had to suffer the food ending up on my derriere.

The unfair thing about weight issues is that you cannot hide it; everyone gets to see first-hand if you’ve gained or lost weight and how you’re managing your addiction.

Now that I’m in my forties, I’ve come to realize that everyone has something they are dealing with; whether it’s alcohol, drug, or exercise addiction; anxiety; health issues; relationship issues, etc. I’m also starting to realize that people don’t spend nearly as much time thinking or talking about how much weight we’ve lost or gained as we imagine they do!

Sadly, I never really appreciated the few times I did manage to get skinny (age 16 and then again at age 18)—because my head never got to catch up with my body.

Leaving South Africa

In 1993, a scholarship to the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston enabled me to pursue my dream of becoming “a singing star in America.”

Growing up, I had always been passed up for the slim, pretty girls—landing the character parts or a spot in the chorus.

Divorce Me Darling, University of the Witwatersrand, 1991

Divorce Me Darling, University of the Witwatersrand, 1991

In Boston, a combination of being away from home and having to walk everywhere inspired my initial weight loss. But after moving to Los Angeles in 1995, the stresses of emigration; a break-up; braving the entertainment industry; and quitting smoking, sent me back to my old habits. Try as I might I could not get rid of the last 30 pounds.

Weight Watchers

On Feb. 28, 2001, in sheer desperation, I walked through the door of Weight Watchers. A record label was invited to my upcoming performance, and I was terrified they would see I was heavier than my flattering photo, and would not sign a “fat” jazz singer.

Luckily they saw past the pounds, and when they informed me that the photo shoot would be first, I got very serious about following the Points Program. Much to my delight, by the time I flew to Chicago for the shoot, the clothes they had picked out were a size too big!

Orna: The Very Thought of You was released on February 18, 2003, and for the very first time in my life it felt good to see my picture. What a feeling.

Orna: The Very Thought of You A440 Music, February 18, 2003

Click to hear samples from Orna’s album, The Very Thought of You on iTunes >>


The Core Plan—Weight Watchers Power Foods/Simply Filling

After losing 30 pounds on the Points Program, I was struggling with the last 5 pounds.

And then Weight Watchers introduced The Core Plan—now known as Simply Filling Technique, choosing from the Weight Watchers Power Foods list.

This was exactly what I needed to break that plateau. I loved the flexibility, and stopped feeling deprived. Most importantly, I became very conscious of eating only when I was hungry and stopping when I was satisfied. This changed the way I looked at food for good. Instead of allowing someone else to tell me what and when I should and could eat, I learned to trust myself to know when I was hungry and what I was hungry for, and listen to my body for the signals.


Click here for Weight Watcher’s Power Foods—will change your life for good >>


Weight Watchers Leader & Ambassador/Life Coach

I became a Weight Watchers leader in 2002, hoping to inspire others to change their lives too. Sam still can’t believe I spent all those years earning a mere pittance; but I know that it was a crucial part of my journey and helped solidify my commitment to the plan. It was pretty cool leading “At Work” meetings at E! Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, CBS and The Writer’s Guild.

I learned that getting to that “magic number” doesn’t miraculously make everything in your life perfect. Weight Watchers gave me the tools to get through the difficult days, and the understanding that I am not a terrible person if I happen to lose control for a day (or two… or more); and that the scale is absolutely not a measure of my self worth.

Being a Weight Watchers leader taught me that I am a worthy person no matter what I weigh. Even if I gained a few pounds, my members still loved me and saw me for who I was as a person—not what I weighed, or what I ate.

I learned to treat myself with the same kindness and compassion that I would any of my members who was struggling.

I was honored to be chosen as a Weight Watchers Ambassador, and enjoyed being behind the scenes when the controversial Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York—the Weight Watchers Spokes person at the time—was the guest speaker in 2004.

Orna with the Duchess of York Weight Watchers Convention, 2004

Orna with the Duchess of York

Weight Watchers Convention, 2004

I continued to lead Private Weight Loss Groups and do Private Coaching by phone and in person after quitting my job at Weight Watchers in 2006.

As a Lifetime Member, I am still a huge advocate for Weight Watchers. It is truly not a diet, but is a way of life. They give you unconditional, loving support and teach you to be kind to yourself and change your habits one at a time. For me the biggest change—and what made it finally click—was to change my negative thought patterns and habits from the inside out. It is NOT just about counting points.

It’s about changing what you have always believed to be true, and truly believing that you can do it and that you are worthy and deserving.

Quite the Journey

I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs; the two years of hormonally-imbalanced infertility were extremely challenging—though happily I only gained about 35 pounds during the ultimate pregnancy with my darling Aja, who is now 3 1/2.

Orna Pregnant

Kids and Food

I feel so sad when I see young kids with weight issues and have to hold myself back when I hear the parents make negative, ignorant comments to—or in front of—their obviously sensitive children. I think my own personal challenge will be to not transfer any of my own body and food issues onto my daughter. I know my mother was just trying her best with me, and must have felt very sad that I was heavy and wasn’t given a fair chance in life because of it.

There is so much more information these days about how to help over-weight kids. The two biggest no-no’s are:

  1. Putting them on diet, and
  2. Criticizing or shaming them about their weight.

The only way to teach your kids to eat healthy and lead an active lifestyle is by doing it with them.

Aja Icing Lemon Cake

This curly-top is now my main motivation; I try to involve her in every step—from the shopping to the cooking, baking, and even blogging!

Making Pasta Dough

Aja and Mommy making fresh pasta dough!

I also try not to say anything negative about my body (we only spell the word F-A-T in this house!), and I would certainly NEVER say anything negative about her gorgeous little figure.

And then there’s my Sammy

I am so very blessed to have a husband who totally gets me—flaws-and-all—and has given me a safe place to heal and grow. He has loved and nurtured me and watched me blossom.

Sam was very concerned on our very first dinner date at Houston’s (now Hillstones) in Santa Monica, when I had one tortilla chip (literally) with their famous Spinach Artichoke Dip—his favorite food on the planet. And then he was even more concerned when we returned six months later and he had to warn me not to cross the fifty yard line, because I was plowing through his half of the chips at lightening speed!

After any trip—the minute he was out of sight—I used to attack the snack cupboard with a vengeance, because “tomorrow” the diet would begin again. (I gained a record-breaking eight pounds in eight days on our Honeymoon!)

Our Wedding Day, February 18, 2007

Our Wedding Day, February 18, 2007

Los Angeles, CA

I now never hide anything that I’ve eaten from him; in fact, when he goes to watch a movie with his dad, I actually text him pictures of the chocolates just before I consume them!

That kind of unconditional love is what makes all the difference.

I never had that growing up, and food became my best friend. Now that I have a real best friend—who loves and adores me no matter what I weigh, I don’t need to turn to the food.

Click here for more About Us >>

My Food Network Obsession

It’s pretty amazing how much I’ve learned about cooking from watching TV! (Favs: Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Top Chef, Master Chef, Chopped)

I didn’t bake for years (my favorite thing to do) and never trusted myself to watch food shows, because I thought they would make me crave ‘bad’ foods and feel hungry. Truthfully, I do crave gourmet type foods when I watch, but I now much prefer eating smaller quantities of really good, tasty, flavorful food, than huge quantities of fat-free, taste-free, diet foods. And I feel inspired to make them myself!

How It Is Now

On easy days I don’t need to count points, and mostly don’t even think about what I ate or what I’m going to eat. (A few years ago I would never have believed that this was possible!)

Those are the easy days.

On the difficult days—the ones that sneak up on you out of the blue, just when you think you have this thing down—I need to pull some of the tools out of my belt. The BEST tool I have in my arsenal, and the best advice I can give you if you’re struggling is to go to a meeting! Find a leader that you love and inspires you. For me that is Michelle Jacob, and I used to schlep all the way from Santa Monica to go to her meetings in the San Fernando Valley. Whenever I feel like I’m slipping or just need some inspiration or encouragement, I go to her meeting in West Hills.

I understand that I have an issue that needs constant managing. I’ve made peace with the fact that it will never just disappear, but that I have to constantly work on it—sometimes it will be effortless, and sometimes it will be challenging. But it is absolutely do-able, as long as I stay positive, am kind to myself, and appreciate all that I have.

I have no regrets because all of this brought me to this point in my life which is exactly where I want to be!

Orna in the Kitchen

I hope that I can give you some inspiration and ideas, and we can be on this sometimes crazy and challenging journey together!

Please let me know how you are doing and share your own story with me! As always, your feedback and comments mean the world to me.

One thing I know with all my heart and soul—if I can do it, SO CAN YOU!

Let me know if I can help in any way…

With love and kindness,


If you think my story will inspire others, please share it!

Just click the buttons above to share to Facebook, G+, Pinterest or Twitter!

You might also like


Recommended Reading

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Wow, Orna! Truly impressive. Our journeys are similar in so many ways… You are truly an inspiration.

    Post a Reply
    • Thank YOU for being a constant inspiration to me. I’m looking forward to hearing all about your journey. xo

      Post a Reply
  2. You are so brave for posting those pictures- wow! You are and have always been the most beautiful person inside and out! I love you and adore you! And yes you are the luckiest person to have snagged the greatest guy around!

    Post a Reply
    • Carla – I feel so blessed to have inherited you as my cuz! Thank you for always being there for me – with great cooking and baking advice and with loving support.

      Post a Reply
  3. You are so brave, even I didn’t know this much about you. The one thing I do remember is shopping and picking out the clothes for your photo shoot, and how beautiful you looked in everything! You are a very special person!

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you Jude – from one brave woman to another. Love you.

      Post a Reply
  4. Thanks for sharing your journey Orn-we are so proud of you-inspirational xxx

    Post a Reply
  5. Reading your story brought tears to my eyes, you have been such a wonderful inspiration on my own weight loss/body image journey. But to see and read about your journey reminded me of your wisdom, strength, determination, motitvation and ever growing compassion for yourself and others who struggle with the same challenges. Your committment shines through your story and the results you have achieved for yourself in so many ways are amazing!!!

    I meet Orna when she was a Weight Watchers leader in W.L.A. and I finally felt I found someone who truly got it and was living it herself. I was excited to go to her meetings no matter what I was dealing with. I have also had Orna as a food and body coach, which has been life changing for me. I live with chronic pain from an health condition I have and she has helped me so much. I can use food to help me cope with my pain and the emotions that can go with living with a chronic illness, but I have a place to go inside to help me stop and make healthy choices. After reading her story and seeing those pictures it gave me another wave of inspiration, Orna is wonderful at that and she did it again. She introduced me to Michelle Jacobs and I too go her meetings in Encino on Saturdays all the way from W.L.A, but it is so worth it, I’m so grateful that Orna recommended me to her. As Orna said when things get challenging go to meetings, it’s so true!! The noise inside gets calmer, it’s so much easier to find control. Thank you Orna for being so brave to share your story and pictures in such a public way, and having so much compassion for yourself and others who share the same journey!!! You are a beautiful woman inside and out!!!! xo

    Post a Reply
    • Denise,
      YOU are inspiring to me! You have kept going despite your health challenges and I am so proud of you for not just giving up—as most would!

      Post a Reply
  6. Hi Orna, How proud I am of you for this fantastic inspirational message, it took guts to open up
    your heart and thoughts of what you went through as a child and young adolescent.

    I admire your success in every thing you undertake singing, baking etc etc.

    Keep up the good work. I love you dearly

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you Dad for your beautiful message. Now I’ve just got to get you to make some of my recipes! 🙂

      Post a Reply
  7. Your beautiful comments have touched me deeply – the ones on the blog and the personal emails and Facebook messages. Thank you all from the bottom of my very-full heart.

    Post a Reply
  8. Thank you so much, Orna, for writing this. Reading this came at a very good time. Recently I’ve struggled significantly after recommitting to Weight Watchers and really getting frustrated with my lack of progress despite “being good”. You were my WW leader and I felt like I made a came a long way under your guidance. Just this morning, I was in tears because the scale is going in the wrong direction and I felt like a huge failure. Thanks for reminding me that I’m not alone.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for sharing Vivian – I am always here for you. Just stay positive and keep making good choices and I promise you’ll see a change!

      Post a Reply
  9. Hi Ornie
    I may never have said it in so many words, but you have always been an inspiration. The resounding response of gratitude from people who’s lives you seem to have changed is a revelation! Your abundant talents continue to emerge and your passion is infectious. I’m of the belief that “to have been there”is one’s greatest asset and blessing…
    Don’t stop, keep going!!!
    With all our love

    Post a Reply
    • Nevy – you made me cry. I didn’t realized how emotional it would be for me to put this out there, but I’m glad I had the courage to do it. Your support means the world to me.

      Post a Reply
  10. Oh Orn….tears and joy reading your blog. You truly are an inspiration to me on ALL levels. You’re an amazing singer, a concious thoughtful mom, a great wife and a weight savy woman. How blessed I feel to have shared those years with you at Varsity. Thanks for being so open about your journey. I’m still on mine. Learning alot as I go along. And mostly learning to not be defined by the figure on the scale. But still finding my way to a healthier version of me…

    Post a Reply
    • My beautiful Bevy, I wish we could live closer to each other and share these wild and wonderful mommy years together! Sending you love my friend.

      Post a Reply
  11. Beautifully written Orna. You have really taken your eating and food challenge and are now reversing with it in great style for the benefit of your friends and family! A great role model for us all.

    Post a Reply
  12. What an amazing and inspiring weight loss journey you have been on. Nothing short of amazing and I loved reading every bit of it. I couldn’t agree more with your statement that this is something that will never go away and need constant managing and yes some days are easy and some are difficult. With a great hubby to support, tools to get through, strategies that work, it can be done. Sharing your story is like a open wound for a time but being exposed to everyone is also a crucial process in healing as well and acceptance of our past. I wish you continued success in life and your blog!

    Post a Reply
    • Brenda—your kind words mean so much to me, since you have had a similar journey yourself. It’s nice to know that someone else really gets it—expose and all! Let’s stay in touch!

      Post a Reply
  13. Orna Darling—you have always been beautiful to me, inside and out. Your incredible achievements, in spite of difficulties you faced growing up, have been wonderful to observe firsthand. I can’t wait to see which fork in the road you’ll be taking next! You are a loving daughter, wife, and mother, and an inspiration to all who know you. I love you to bits!

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you Mom for your loving support—and occasional editing! 🙂

      Post a Reply
  14. Ornie,
    Your revelations brought tears to my eyes. Your courage is inspiring. How sorry I am that I wasn’t there for you when you needed support. I thank the one above for sending Sam to you and for being there for you. I really am so proud of you. It’s not easy to expose one’s inner
    tribulations. My/our love and sincere good wishes.. Angie.

    Post a Reply
    • Dearest Auntie Angie,
      Your kind words and support of me and my current endeavor (ie blog) mean so very much to me! xo

      Post a Reply
  15. Darling Ornie
    I am so proud of all your achievements and successes. That you have embraced your life journey with such wisdom and understanding is truly remarkable and an inspiration to all. I felt a great sadness as I was reminded of your difficult path and have a painful realization that I may have unknowingly exacerbated your struggle. You are beautiful through and through and I am so proud to be your big brother. I love you

    Post a Reply
    • Dear Ga, Thank you for your kind and reflective response – it means so much to me. I know this must have been a difficult read, and I am thankful for your wisdom; you will see your advice popping up in other posts; See Love + Kindness = Thinner Thighs >>
      Love you.

      Post a Reply
  16. Hi Orna
    Found your link on Stan the Good Shabbos Man and have just had great fun browsing your blog. Love the way you let it all hang out, and seem to enjoy what you are writing about. Your daughter looks utterly delicious – enjoy and keep up your enthusiastic happy website.
    Hedy – Jhbg

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Hedy,
      I loved reading your comments – thank you for sharing. So glad you found me!
      Please stay in touch.

      Post a Reply
  17. Hi Orns,
    Do I remember those days!!! rusks and tea and lots of them!
    Makes me so glad to see you so very happy.
    Keep it up my friend……(Love your blog),

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Shansy, So nice to hear from you! I wish we could sit down with a rusk and tea right now! Love, Orns

      Post a Reply
  18. Hi Orna,
    After you responded to one of the posts on the WW Community on G+ with a link, I read a few of your pages. Very good for you! That whole journey must have felt empowering. I’m new to G+ and hooked up with that group immediately. My life changing journey to better health started over a year ago, so I can understand how that empowerment feels. I am sure many of us can empathize with your history in many ways. I know I do in many aspects.
    Anyway, I wanted to say hello after reading several pages of your site. And you met Alex Guarnaschelli! I am so envious! LOL! My wife and I have a lot of respect for her. I’ve bookmarked your site for current reading and future reference because it has really good information. Thank you for sharing!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Doug, Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I am new to the G+ thing – can barely keep up with my FB page and twitter and website! The WW group is a wonderful resource and source of support. You can sign up for email updates on my website and like OrnaBakes on FB for new food finds and recipe posts. All the best, Orna

      Post a Reply
  19. Orna,
    It is very motivating to read your story! I started ww on labor day last year and have since lost 62 pounds, 8 pounds from my goal! My childhood is much closer in time frame than yours (I’m 23) and I remember every single time that my mother told me that I was packing on the pounds or that in order for me to be able to eat that cookie I had to run around the house 5 times. I, too, developed an unhealthy relationship with food and by age 20 I was teetering 200 pounds. It was last year after seeing pictures of my sister’s wedding that I decided I needed to do something that I knew I could commit to. Weight Watchers has been a spectacular journey and I am now the most healthy I have ever been! It’s stories like yours that get me through the tough weeks, like this week, where all I want is to have a snickers bar every day!!!

    Thank you again for your motivation!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Kristin, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It brought tears to my eyes reading about you having to run around the house to earn a cookie. It’s amazing that you’ve managed to overcome what was taught to you at such a young age. Even though I don’t know you I really feel proud of you for how far you’ve come, and in such a short time. Please let me know when you hit your goal so I can celebrate with you! Congratulations on a job well done already! Just remember that no snickers bar tastes as good as thin feels! PS LMK if you’d like me to add you to my mailing list so you get my updates. You can also like OrnaBakes on FB for realtime updates. All my best, Orna

      Post a Reply
  20. Orna, It was great being with you and the family. AJa has won a place in my heart forever! Thank you for your support and inspiration. I made a list of all your favorites and will go shopping soon. I’m not familiar with several of your choices . They look delicious and satisfying. Thank you for sharing and caring. I can’t wait to see you all again soon. Love, Marilyn

    Post a Reply
    • My dear Marilyn, It was OUR pleasure to be with you and I loved connecting with you. Thank you so much for such a wonderful time. I mean it most sincerely that I am here to support you always! Let me know what you try. Lots of love, Orna

      Post a Reply
  21. I am beyond proud and excited for you. This is fabulous!! Best of luck to you with your journey.

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you for your kind words and support Monica, and for believing in my vision – it means the world to me.

      Post a Reply
  22. Dear Orna, I just discovered this amazing read and I have to say that you have inspired me enormously. Your love and warmth just bounces from these pages. I too went through a weight loss journey but more importantly have realised how important the healing power of food is. I was diagnosed with melanoma earlier this year and decided to work with an ex South African doctor who specialises in complimentary medicine, a large part of which is diet and the results have been extraordinary. Food is medicine in so many ways. Your bravery in confronting and exposing what must surely be some of your most difficult years is commendable.I hope you continue to go from strength to strength. Adele

    Post a Reply
    • Dear Adele, your words touched me deeply, and I so appreciate your sharing your story with me. I agree with you that food is medicine, and once I started to view it as nourishment for my body instead of the enemy to be feared, my life and my relationship with food changed completely. So happy to connect with you – please stay in touch.

      Post a Reply
  23. My special friend Orni,

    It’s taken me so many months to actually read your weight loss journey(it was like looking into a mirror and I just wasn’t ready yet), and I cried like a baby. Orn, I remember so many of the experiences you shared. You are such an inspiration to me and so many people who share the same challenges with food. I look so forward to seeing you soon and meeting Sam & Aja!!
    Can’t wait to give you the biggest hug.
    I promise to try at least two recipes before you get here because I cant and dont cook…omg!!! lol.
    Love always
    Simmy xxx

    Post a Reply
    • Darling Simmy, Thank you for your beautiful note. I am beyond excited to see you and catch up on the last TEN YEARS! (Can you believe that it’s been so long?!) xoxo Orn

      Post a Reply
  24. Hi Orna! Your story is very inspiring! I enjoy reading your blog and following your pins! I did have a quick question: Did you have trouble shifting from losing to maintenance? I have reached my goal, but finding that balance is hard. I am scared to put on the weight again.


    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, sorry that it’s taken a while to get back to you – I am currently on Safari in South Africa! Im so happy to hear that you are enjoying my blog and pins! It is absolutely harder to do maintenance than lose weight because you no longer have the strong goal motivating and driving you – and there is such a fine line between maintaining and gaining. If you’re newly at goal my best advice is to continue to go to meetings and get weighed in every week as this keeps us on track. Congratulations for becoming a lifetime member!!! All the best. Please stay in touch.

      Post a Reply
  25. I love your website. Only those of us who have struggled since birth can understand the hiding, sneaking, shaming. I went from 280 to 160 & I am terrified to eat. I starve or I binge – there is no middle for me yet because the way I lost it was one of those cleanses. It has been off for 3 years so I feel out of the danger zone but I am not yet “free”. I am going to a WW meeting next week & wanted to do a little research. I came across your blog – thank you for it!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Kat, Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I think there are a lot of people out there in a similar situation to you – and one would never know just by looking at them about the inner turmoil they are suffering. That is why I put myself out there completely – flaws and all – in the hopes that I can inspire or support others who feel pain about their weight/body/food. I’m so happy to hear that you’re going to a meeting. Make sure it’s a really great leader who inspires you – if not, go find another one! Please keep me posted.

      Post a Reply
  26. Orna:
    After stumbling across your page while going through the “power foods” lists, I am hooked! You are an amazing woman! Beautiful. Talented.
    I am struggling with my weight like crazy. I was always the skinny model-type. 5’7″ & 101 lbs (yikes!!!) Now I’m stuck at the 215 mark. I’m getting discouraged/frustrated/disappointed. I know what I need to do…exercise…but it’s freezing in these parts so, it’s gonna be a few months before I wander outside.
    I find you inspiring. You have motivated me to take a new look at things I put into my mouth. Your recipes are wonderful. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to write all these out!
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your webpage! It will now be my go-to page for yumminess!

    Post a Reply
    • Tracey: I just want you to know that I just came home to find your comment printed out and stuck to the wall on top of my computer by my sweet hubby. (I had forwarded it to him this morning.) He said it’s for times when I’m feeling down on myself about nobody appreciating what I do. So thank you to you and to him for making my heart smile and for making me feel like I can actually make a difference.

      Post a Reply
  27. Thank you for sharing your story Orna. Very inspirational! Congratulations to you on your success! I have lost 165 lbs (with 55 more to go) with Weight Watchers and like you, I am a huge supporter of the program and the fact that it is a “lifestyle change” rather than a “diet.” Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!

    Post a Reply
    • WOW Kassie – that is absolutely incredible! I’ll be following you too and looking forward to sharing in your journey. Thanks so much for writing in. My warmest and best wishes to you for the next 55!

      Post a Reply
  28. I’ve been thinking of joining Weight Watchers (again) but wasn’t sure, you’ve inspired me to go ahead and take that first step (again).
    Thank you!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Andrea, I am SO happy to hear that I’ve inspired you to rejoin! All my best of luck to you – this is IT! This time you have experience under your belt so you’re already way ahead of the game. Please keep me posted!

      Post a Reply
  29. This testimony has been a godsend as I am on vacation in Kauai and worrying about my weigh-in when I return❗️Being a “serial” Weight. Watcher for years, I am determined to “just do it” this time. Your trials are the same all of us on a weight loss journey face. Thank-you for sharing so eloquently.

    Post a Reply
    • Mary Anne just enjoy every second of that gorgeous island and DO NOT worry about a thing! I’m happy you found me and I hope I have inspired you to just nourish your body with the wonderful fresh foods there and trust yourself and you will not gain any weight! And even if you do, that’s okay too because it will come right off. I love going for walks along the ocean – never been to Kauai but Maui is my favorite place on earth. Have a fabulous vacation!

      Post a Reply
  30. I am so glad that i found your page on pinterest and i LOVED reading your story:) I am also from SA and am currently living in Santa Monica and have done the yo yo thing for FAR toooooo long now and at 43 need to get myself on a new path and WW looks like it is going to be that one.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Bronwyn, I’m so happy you found me too. Thanks for writing in and taking the time to fill out my survey. What part of SA are you from? I used to live in Santa Monica too. I so miss doing the stairs out there and going for walks at the beach!! Please stay in touch and let me know how the WW path turns out. As you can see it definitely worked for me! There’s a fantastic leader in the valley who is also South African. I think you’d find it worth the schlep. If you “like” OrnaBakes on FB and then message me, I’ll send you her info – if you’re interested. All the best!

      Post a Reply
      • I found this web page looking for oat bran recipes today. I am in love with oat bran so much and just bought the Trader Joe’s last week. I want to turn it into muffins and cookies for the summer. But your story brought me to tears. My first binge food was cottage cheese at 10 years old. How strange is that? I starved myself to be thin but at 15 when my Mom married my evil Stepfather I then binged on toast and jam. I gained 50 pounds over the summer and have gained and lost that amount over and over. I have now lost 20 pounds and 40 from my goal. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

        Post a Reply
        • Hi Anita, your message really moved me – thank you so much for writing in. Congratulations on losing 20 pounds. It is hard work and we all have our ups and downs. I hope you can find kindness and compassion for yourself now and for the young you, who was doing the best she could. My warmest regards and wishes. Orna

          Post a Reply
  31. Hi Orna,

    This is not about weight watching or cooking, it’s about song. I really love listening to your voice. Ntyillo Ntyillo is just so lovely and the beautiful bass playing in the background is just perfection. I just thought I’d take this opportunity of asking you not to put all your energy into your admirable vocation but save some for doing another album (with the same bass player please!) There must be loads of people who would love to hear you sing again. What about another beautiful South African ballad like Lakutshn Ilanga (in Xhosa not English). I can hear you doing that one, or anything you like of course. Hope you don’t mind me writing to you like this.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Charlie, how could I be offended by such a lovely note. You really made my day. I’m not sure about another album, but I do still sing for my family and these days am loving inspiring my little daughter and being involved in music projects at her school. And I am completely absorbed (some might even say “obsessed” ) with my cooking and baking and love it passionately. Thanks again for the kind words. I do love Lakutshn Ilanga – beautiful song. My best, Orna

      Post a Reply
      • Thank you Orna. I have a suggestion that I know will appeal to you for a song to sing together with the children at your daughter’s school. The Calendar Song (January, February…..) They love it. Oh yes and The Lion Sleeps Tonight with some call and responce in the chorus. That works a treat.

        Charlie (retired music teacher)

        Post a Reply


  1. Love + Kindness = Thinner Thighs | OrnaBakes - [...] My Weight Loss Journey [...]
  2. Rosti Tuscan Kitchen—Spring Menu | OrnaBakes - [...] My Weight Loss Journey [...]
  3. Cheesecake Factory’s SkinnyLicious Menu—oh so good! | OrnaBakes - [...] My Weight Loss Journey [...]
  4. Weight Watchers Power Foods—will change your life for good! | OrnaBakes - [...] My Weight Loss Journey [...]
  5. Trader Joe’s Shopping List—with Weight Watchers PointsPlus Values | OrnaBakes - [...] My Weight Loss Journey [...]
  6. Fabio Viviani’s Cooking Demo and Cookbook Review | OrnaBakes - [...] My Weight Loss Journey [...]
  7. Input vs Output—a fine line between maintaining and gaining | OrnaBakes - [...] My Weight Loss Journey [...]
  8. Top 10 Healthy Travel Snacks | OrnaBakes - [...] My Weight Loss Journey [...]
  9. What to buy at Costco | OrnaBakes - [...] My Weight Loss Journey [...]